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Belize Electricity Limited donates equipment to Ministry of Health to speed up processing COVID-19 samples

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Posted: Thursday, October 22, 2020. 7:54 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) has donated an extraction machine to the Ministry of Health, which the ministry says should greatly increase the processing time for COVID-19 samples.

Director of Health Services. Dr. Marvin Manzanero, explained that laboratory staff has to manually extract nasal swabs one by one from their containers to insert them into the machine for processing. Manzanero said that the manual removal of samples not only takes up time but also exposes lab staff, at some level, to the virus.

“The lab is telling me that the preliminary data seems to suggest that they will be able to take out 96 samples every 20 minutes in terms of extraction and then placing it in the machine. If that is the case then that would be a significant cut back in terms of time,” Manzanero said.

He noted that the ministry is scheduled to receive another extraction machine at a later date, which will further increase the turnover time.

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